WILLIAM R. BAKER was elected Auditor for Greene County in November, 1883, and has served continuously since that time, a fact which speaks highly for his character and the estimation in which he is held by the people of his county. He is one of the old soldiers whom all lovers of the flag delight to honor, and in remembrance of the years during which he hazarded life itself in battle’s front, he belongs to the Grand Army of the Republic at Xenia. For some years prior to his election to his present responsible position, he was identified with the business interests of the city in the capacity of a dealer in groceries and in financial circles was held in excellent repute.
Mr. BAKER was born near Jamestown, August 31, 1841, being a son of John W. BAKER, whose settlement in this county dated from 1828. The father was a native of Kentucky, whither he came across the Ohio River when a boy of fourteen years with his father, William BAKER, who kept one of the early public houses of Jamestown. Amid the pioneer surroundings the father of our subject grew to maturity, being engaged as a teamster until his marriage, when he turned his attention to farming. In the spring of 1848 he abandoned that enterprise and returning to Jamestown, engaged in the grocery business, continuing in that occupation until 1857.
In the schools of his native place and in the store kept by his father, he of whom we write received his education, being enabled to make practical use of the principles learned from the text books and so realized the object of his schooling. During his youth his father resumed his farm work and continuing it until after his boys had grown to manhood, they became well acquainted with the occupation also. The father finally removed to Grape Grove and four or five years later to Columbus, where he still lives. The mother of whom our subject and other members of the parental family owe much for good counsel and loving care, also survives.
Our subject left the parental roof in the fall of 1861 to enlist in Company A, Seventy-fourth Ohio Infantry. The regiment spent six months at Camp Todd and Camp Chase, preparing for the duties which awaited them at the front, and then going to Nashville, were placed under the command of Gen. THOMAS, in the Fourteenth Corps, Army of the Cumberland. They bore a gallant part in the momentous battles of Stone River, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, and afterward participated in the scenes of the Atlanta campaign from Chattanooga to Atlanta. During this period they were under fire nearly every day, bearing their part in all the battles of the campaign. At its conclusion our subject was discharged, his term of service being completed, and was mustered out October 7, 1864.
Returning to his home Mr. BAKER became a clerk in the grocery store of EAVEY & CO., Xenia, remaining in the establishment until 1869, in a clerical capacity and assuming a half interest in the house. The firm did both a wholesale and retail trade and was well known in this section of the Buckeye State as one of the most reliable establishments of Xenia. For sixteen years Mr. BAKER was connected with the house, during the various changes it underwent, owning from one-half to the entire interest. When elected to the office in which he is now serving his third term, he sold out his business in order that he might devote himself fully to his public duties.
Mr. BAKER votes the Republican ticket, no stancher [sic] supporter of the party being met with than he. He is a Chapter Mason and is also identified with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. His family consists of a wife and two children, the latter bearing the names of Florence H. and Jessie R. Mrs. BAKER bore the maiden name of Anna P. HARRISON, and was born and reared on a farm near Cedarville, this county, of which her father, James HARRISON was an early settler. The rites of wedlock between herself and our subject were celebrated at her home March 1, 1876. She is a noble woman, true to her family and friends, and intelligently interested in the affairs of mankind.
Portrait and Biographical Album of Clark and Greene Counties, Chapman Bros., Chicago, published 1890